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Nolan Bushnell Discusses Atari Tenure

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Bushnell reminisced on the gaming industry of the 70s and 80s.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the classic video game publisher and developer Atari. In the 70s and early 80s, Atari was an absolute force of nature, ruling the burgeoning gaming market with an iron fist both in the coin-op arcades and at home with the Atari 2600 console. One of the founders of this company was Nolan Bushnell, a legend in the gaming scene who played a large part in shaping the industry into what it currently is.

In an interview with How-To Geek, Bushnell looked back on his time with Atari and everything the company did right by his reckoning. “We did really good branding. And I think that, in terms of our graphic badges and our logo and everything, we wanted to have a distinct look. I think it’s held together. Right now, the Atari logo is the only thing that’s still really vibrant.”

While Atari was a major part of Bushnell’s life, though, running it was extremely difficult, and he didn’t regret selling his stake in the company. “I really liked my life after I sold it. I got married, I got my house, I kinda got my personal life in order. Atari was very, very hard. And we never had enough money. We were running it as if we were going to take it public, and then the market kind of went sideways.”

“If I’d have gone ahead and been able to take the company public, I would have had another three or four years in the rat race and probably would have never gotten married. So would it have been a good ride and would I have made gobspocks more money? Absolutely. But on my personal life basis, it was definitely a good thing to do.”